Monday, October 20, 2008

Expectations

Expectations are evil.

A woman, 26 and beautiful, isn't married yet and so she thinks she must be seriously messed up because she hasn't achieved what's expected. A guy hasn't figured out what he wants to do yet or found his niche and thinks he must be a big fat loser. A woman hasn't gotten 2.3 kids and a minivan and thinks she must not be a real woman.

It's dumb. We put expectations on oursleves, and others put them on us. Based on what is most common. In the sometimes sameness of the church, living up to the expectations of your demographic means you must be right with life. Not meeting these expectations means there must be something wrong with you.

And expectations mean a sense of entitlement. God never promised us a minivan or 2.3 kids or a picket fence or a degree in engineering, but when it becomes the norm of those who seem to be spiritually sound, it seems like what we must also desrerve. The norms seem to become equated with spiritual success. But God never promised us these things.

I think of all the things I've been discontent about in life. So many of them I felt wronged by the universe or God because I had this expectation that it's what any "normal" person "got" in life. How wrong I was. How sad to have wasted so much time discontent that I didn't have something I took for granted was my right.

My case: Although it was never something I yearned for in life, based on my expectations, I thought I should be at home, having babies, not working. Now there is nothing wrong with this. It's a beautiful, wonderful thing to do. And becasue it is what many of my friends ended up doing, I thought I must be messed up for not having that path, and like I'd somehow been cheated. But there's nothing that guarantees me this lifestyle. In fact, what we consider normal is very often a very recent lifestyle development in the history of the world.

And what God has given me instead is incredible. It's different than what I expected, but also far more than what I expected. God turns out to be more creative than I am.

All this is to say, I'm tired of living my life with expectations of how I have to be or how others think I should be or what I think I deserve. All I really have for sure is today. I can spend my todays fretting that tomorrow would be how it's expected to be, or I can live content in today, with no sense of entitlement, but a sense of joy for the unique life path I have been given.

3 comments:

alyssa said...

thanks for the reminder.

Becky said...

You are very wise, my friend. You are right when you say that expectations mean a sense of entitlement. I hate expectations.

P.S. I love the new look of your blog!

Ric Sieben said...

expectations of success, expectations of friendship/relationship...how many times are we disappointed by the expectations we bring into any given situation? Great post, Amber. It helped me re-evaluate some of the stuff going on in my life right now.